After Pictures Of Patients Chained In UP Mental Asylum Surfaced, SC Issues Notice
“No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”
These words are enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which seeks to protect the dignity of the people. However, the case was different for persons with mental illness who were kept chained at a mental asylum in Uttar Pradesh.
The pictures of the horrific case, which went viral on social media, show people tied like cattle with iron chains on their feet, kept visibly mistreated inside a dirty shed. The incident which took place at a “faith-based mental asylum” in Badaun district came to light after petitioner, advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal furnished the pictures and told the Supreme Court that such treatment of patients violates the provisions enshrined in the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 as well as Article 21 of the constitution.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) also sought direction to states and union territories to establish state mental health authority and also to start a programme to provide mental health care, reported NDTV.
What did Supreme court say?
Not only did the Apex court express shock at the issue, but it also took cognisance of the issue. A bench of Justices A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer said that people with mental illnesses are also human beings and keeping them chained, as is practiced in some asylums, is in complete violation of human rights. While violent patients can be kept in isolation, chaining them is not a solution, reported The Times Of India.
The bench said, “People suffering from mental illness are also human beings and their dignity cannot be compromised. It is atrocious and something has to be done immediately.”
Supreme Court issues notice to Centre and UP government. Court says, this is beyond inhuman. It violates fundamental rights and specific provisions of the Mental healthcare Act. The Petitioner showed photos of patients chained up in a mental asylum in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. https://t.co/ePwoUc9VUv
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 3, 2019
Moreover, it also hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government and sent notices to the Centre and the state governments seeking their response. Meanwhile, the solicitor general, Tushar Mehta has assured that the case will be looked into. The matter is expected to be taken up early next week.
The Logical Indian take
According to the National Mental Health Survey, 2016, nearly 14% of the Indian population required active mental health interventions while around 2% suffered acute mental disorders. Our lack of understanding of mental health problems often results in harassment and mistreatment and for people belonging to less privileged backgrounds, the problem multiplies manifold, as seen in this case.
The Logical Indian strongly condemns the treatment that has been meted out to the inmates and urges the authorities to look into the matter.